Yes, I realize it’s been nearly a week and a half since this race. I had to take some time to really digest everything.
How’d the race go? Overall, it went pretty well. However, I walked away kind of disappointed, and that feeling is still sort of lingering.
I started the race with Sara. It was good to start the race with her, and realize I wasn’t the only one nervous! We chatted about how nice the morning had turned out, other races, nervous stomachs. Shortly after the race started she peeled out, she was hoping for a sub 2 (and nearly made it!!!), while I was aiming for sub 2:30.
I started out way too fast. There were not a TON of half marathoners, so starting too close to the front was way too easy. Despite my constant attempts to slow down I hit the first two miles well below 11 min/miles (I was aiming for a pace of 11:12). Anyway, I pretty much felt great. My dad chose a few awesome spots in the park so I got to see him 4 times and then he and my mom were both at the finish. I was buzzing right along feeling fine.
Now, you may remember that the two weeks prior to the race I was having a lot of right leg/ITB pain. I’d taken some extra rest during taper, and spent a lot of time focusing on foam rolling, stretching, and heating that leg in the days prior. Race day morning it felt totally normal!
Then… dun dun dun… at about mile 4ish my left hip cramped up! I was SO angry. My left hip/ITB has been a problem for years – with the real ITB issue flaring each time I started to try out running. However, this training cycle, unlike my first, I’d had absolutely NO left hip pain at all. Quite amazing really. So for it to flare up, out of nowhere, DURING THE RACE, was extremely frustrating. I stopped several times to stretch it out, but the pain was pretty bad and resulted in some compensating in my stride. This flared up some old random toe tendonitis in my right foot (what a lame injury), and some left Achilles pain – which was a bit nerve-wracking, because that is not an injury that I want.
Anyway, as I’m sure you suspect, the pain did slow me down, so I didn’t get my A goal – 2:26:34, and I just missed my B goal of sub 2:30. My ending time was 2:30:12. At the time I was really bummed. But, I soon got over it (mostly). I had shaved 6.5 minutes off my half marathon time in 4 months. Additionally, I’d just run 2 half marathons within 13 months of “becoming a runner.”
After I got over my initial disappointment with my time, and recognized what I’ve accomplished I tried to give myself some time to reflect on my training cycle.
This time around I increased my volume a fair amount. During my first training cycle I had maybe 2 weeks of 20+ miles. This time around, I hit 20 miles/week within week 3 of the training plan and stayed steady/and built on that slowly. Overall, I think I held up well with the higher mileage. There are still lessons to be learned:
- I need to put more emphasis on core, strength, and cross training. This shouldn’t be hard since these things got virtually no attention this time around.
- More time needs to be spent recovering properly. I skimped on stretching after workouts on the regular this cycle. I also didn’t foam roll as much as I should have, and when I did it was reactive. Paying attention to the recovery of both legs equally is important, even if one isn’t “hurting.”
- Diet: this needs a lot of work – it’s a certain focus of the off season.
- This wasn’t really a set back. My initial reflections on my performance were that I’d failed, but I didn’t – I improved, I did a great job, I ran through the pain and pushed through to the end. And I learned some lessons, which will only make the next race better
I have big goals for next year – four half marathons, and to continue my quest to a sub 2 hour half marathon. The off season is strength building, weight loosing, and base building.